HOWTO: Enable ePrint on your HP printer when you can’t see the “HP Web Services” tab in EWS

I have an HP LaserJet 500 color M551 printer, with which I am overall extremely happy. One of the neat features this printer supports is HP ePrint, which allows me to print files just by emailing them to an email address @hpeprint.com. Not only that, but I can link the printer directly through ePrint to Google Drive, such that I can print a Google Doc directly rather than generating a PDF and printing that. Furthermore, there’s an HP ePrint driver for Mac OS and Windows, so you can print from your laptop to an ePrint printer from anywhere in the world. And there’s an Android (and I imagine iPhone as well) app, so you can print documents from your phone. In general, it’s pretty sweet.

Well, it was pretty sweet, until it stopped working. I’m not sure exactly when it stopped working, but my guess is that when I had to replace the printer’s formatter board, which was malfunctioning, or maybe it was when I upgraded the printer’s firmware. I noticed it wasn’t working when I tried to print a file from my phone and it never showed up on the printer.

I figured that I just had to re-enable the ePrint service, so I went online and looked up the directions for doing that. They say to log into the printer’s Embedded Web Server (EWS) and click on the “‘HP Web Services’ tab” to enable ePrint. Alas, there was just one problem… There was no “HP Web Services” tab displayed in EWS!

I searched all over the internet for suggestions about how to resolve this, and found nothing useful. There were several pages suggesting upgrading the firmware, but that seemed to be for printers for which ePrint support had been added in a new firmware version and wasn’t available in the old version. Also, I’d already upgraded the firmware recently and had the current version, so I didn’t see how that would fix the problem.

Fortunately, the printer was still under warranty, so I filed a support case with HP and asked them to figure out the problem. Lo and behold, they sent me instructions which fixed it! I’m posting these instructions here because I couldn’t find them anywhere else online and because they may be applicable to printers other than the M551dn specifically. Here’s what I had to do:

  1. Turn off the printer, wait for it to completely shut off, and turn it back on.
  2. When the Ready, Data, and Attention LEDs on the front of the printer (i.e., all three LEDs) are lit at the same time, press the Stop button (the one with the red circle with the X through it).
  3. Press the Down arrow button until Administrator is highlighted, and press the OK button.
  4. Press the Down arrow button until Partial Clean is highlighted, and press the OK button.
  5. Press the OK button again. It will seem like this didn’t do anything, but that’s OK.
  6. Press the back arrow button to highlight Continue, and then press the OK button.
  7. At this point the printer will reinstall the firmware.
  8. When the printer finishes starting up. you will probably have to restore some of your settings through EWS (for example, I had to put back the tray preference settings and reconfigure the outbound SMTP server and alert emails).
  9. If you’re lucky, you will now see the “HP Web Services” tab in EWS!

It is entirely possible that doing a complete reinstall of the firmware, rather than the “partial clean” procedure described above, may also solve the problem, so if you can’t figure out how to make this “partial clean” process work on your printer, I’d suggest trying to reinstall the firmware even if you’re installing the firmware version that the printer already has.

If this posting helped you out, post a comment and let me know!

 

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